Playing safe


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Invited presentation to the parent-teacher association of C.E.I.P. Rosa Luxemburgo, Madrid, April 2012.

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Playing safe

  1. 1. Overview What are the key issues of concern? − Internet addiction − Unmonitored access to content − Stranger Danger − Cyberbullying How do we tackle these concerns? − Parental control software − Talking with our children − Plain common sense
  2. 2. Getting real ... New technologies have always been perceived as a potential danger − Television in the 1950s / 1960s − Music (radio and disc … lyrics, subliminal messages, ...) − Computer games (1980s on) … though as a “corrupting influence” So what is different about the Internet? − "Children dont go online--they are online. Its part of their everyday lives"
  3. 3. "Children dont GO online--they ARE online"
  4. 4. Too much of a good thing ... How many hours a day does your child spend online? Are you aware of / have you heard of Internet addiction? Does your child have an active real-world social life? Do you place time restrictions on your childs Internet usage?
  5. 5. Internet addiction“Robert Kraut, a psychologist at CarnegieMellon University, led a team who studiedpeople before and after they used the Internet.They found that greater use of the Internet wasassociated with declines in participantscommunication with household family members,declines in the size of their social circle, andincreases in their depression and loneliness”(Blascovich and Bailenson, Infinite Reality,2011)
  6. 6. Internet addiction“Do you/they: Spend hours online without a break? Prefer to spend time on a computer over friends and family? Lie about the amount of time spent online? Hide what is done online? Check e-mail several times an hour? Hear family complaints about the amount of time spent online? … (contd ...)
  7. 7. Internet addiction“Do you/they: Constantly think about being online—even when offline? Log on while at work or school instead of working or studying?If the answer to even a couple of these questions is yes, you may have an addiction problem”.(Blascovich and Bailenson, Infinite Reality, 2011)
  8. 8. “Where do you want to go today?” What web sites is your child viewing? − Do you supervise / monitor your childs internet usage? − Have you spoken with your child about “inappropriate content”?
  9. 9. What is your child viewing? If you think your child has been viewing inappropriate content, report it to your ISP or to the content provider Look for “Report this picture” and similar buttons on web sites
  10. 10. Connecting with others The Internet of the 2000s is inherently social … − Email − Facebook − Instant Messengers (Yahoo, MSN, AIM, …) − MySpace − Twitter − Virtual worlds (Panfu, Club Penguin, Oloko, SmallWorlds, …, etc)
  11. 11. Stranger Danger "Talking to your child is the simplest and best way to keep up. After all who knows better what your children are up to online … other than your children!" − What does your child do on the Internet? − What web sites does he/she visit? − Who does he/she chat with? And where? − Who are your childrens online friends? Ask him/her! (just as you would for real-world activities) Apply the same cautions as you would in the offline world: “Dont talk to strangers!”
  12. 12. What is a friend? “What does a friend mean to you? And is that the same as what it means to your child?” − Friends theyve met in chat rooms or gaming sites, whom they have never met in real life − Ease of adding new friends … and the naturalness for your child of accepting a friend request − Gives access to your (childs) personal information: what you look like, what you like, where you are, who else you know, … But how do you know whom you can trust? What is a friend?
  13. 13. Facebook friends “Remember: the people you share with can always share your information with others”. Privacy is a collective responsibility! Do you know who your childs friends are? Does your child know who his/her friends are?!?!
  14. 14. Facebook privacy settings "Remember: we act differently online to how we do in the real world. It can be much easier to say, do, or reveal things online when were hiding behind a computer."
  15. 15. Facebook privacy settings
  16. 16. “I know where you live” What information is your child sharing online? − Personal details? (school, home location, ...) − Photographs? − Videos? Its important that your children learn to think before they share. Once your content is online, you can lose control of it.
  17. 17. Social gaming and virtual worlds
  18. 18. How many worlds are there?
  19. 19. Children are largest user group
  20. 20. Habbo Hotel
  21. 21. Stardoll
  22. 22. Moshi Monsters
  23. 23. Bin Weevils
  24. 24. SmallWorlds
  25. 25. Chimpoo
  26. 26. Users by age group70.3% of all virtual world users are (Q1, 2011) between the agesof 5 and 15; and an extraordinary 84% between the ages of 8and 20
  27. 27. Virtual worlds and social gaming Do you monitor how much time your child spends online? Do you know which social gaming worlds your child is using? Do you know who your childs in-world friends are? Have you talked with your child about personal safety when in a social gaming world?
  28. 28. Parental control systems Parental control systems for computer, Xbox, Playstation, and Wii
  29. 29. Cyberbullying
  30. 30. Cyberbullying In the south USA, one in 5 children aged 10 to 18 has reported being a victim of cyberbullying. Has your child been bullied? Dont wait till it happens— caution your child now!
  31. 31. Cyberbullying … online support
  32. 32. Other online support The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre at:
  33. 33. Other online support CEOP at
  34. 34. Other online support
  35. 35. Summing up ... Create a computer account for your child separate from your own, and (with younger children) ensure that only you know the password. Time-restrict usage. If using MS Windows, install anti-virus software. Talk with your child sensitively about the dangers of talking with strangers on the net. Ensure they know how to restrict publishing of, and access to, personal information. Talk with your child about inappropriate content. If theres something youd not want them to view on TV, then youd not want them to view it on the net!
  36. 36. Summing up ... Set limits on the amount of time your child spends online Make sure your child takes regular screen breaks (at least 15 minutes in every hour) Ensure your child thinks before sharing pictures or videos; and explain why they should not give out personal information such as mobile phone number or address (contd ...)
  37. 37. Summing up … (2) Make sure your child knows to come to you if they are concerned about anything that happens online Parental control tools are helpful, but should never be seen as a substitute for personal engagement with your child
  38. 38. Some useful links Keeping children safe online − safety/internetsafety/dg_071138 Child internet safety − UK Council for Child Internet Safety − Child safety online: a guide for parents −